Jewelry not only has sentimental value, but it’s also an investment. Learn how to take care of your treasures properly with these five important cleaning tips.
For best results, clean silver when it just starts to discolor, or when it looks filmy or dull. Add a few drops of liquid mild dish detergent to warm water, and dip a soft cloth into this mixture. Rub the silver jewelry with the damp part, then rinse your pieces in cool water. Use a separate soft cloth and buff until dry.
To clean heavily tarnished pieces, make a paste by mixing one part water with three parts of baking soda. Apply this cleanser with a lint-free cloth onto wet silver, work the paste in by turning the cloth, rinse the jewelry, and buff it dry with a separate cloth.
Remember to not soak silver because that speeds up the tarnishing process, and don’t use paper towels because they can cause scratches.
Everyday dirt, lotions and soaps can clog spaces between gold chain links and adhere to prongs in rings and earrings. The solution is to make a bubble bath. Add a bit of mild dish detergent to a small bowl of club soda or seltzer water (make sure it’s sodium-free). Place the gold in a small strainer and immerse into the bowl.
Let it sit for five minutes. Swish the strainer around, and clean crevices and settings of each piece with a soft toothbrush. Place the items back into the strainer, rinse under the faucet, and dry them off.
To add an extra layer of security, make sure the drain is covered or closed during this process.
Make sure you know if your gems are genuine, treated or man-made. You can use the gold bubble bath to clean jewelry that has glued or set stones, but don’t immerse it. Instead, dab a cloth into the seltzer solution and wipe away grime and smudges. Finish by “rinsing” with a damp cloth that was moistened with plain water, and pat the jewelry dry.
Take special care with real, faux and cultured pearls because they are very porous. Put them on a soft cloth, and clean them with a small makeup brush that has been dipped in warm water that was treated with a bit of shampoo. Take a clean cloth, wet it, wring it out and wipe the pearls down. Let strands dry on a flat surface so they won’t stretch. You can use this method to clean turquoise as well.
While ultrasonic cleaners sound convenient, keep in mind that the vibration could chip or loosen gems. Additionally, they aren’t recommended for stones that react to heat and temperature changes.